Sunday, April 5, 2020 / by Teresa Dipeso
1. Set work hours – in order to get things done, it helps to keep work hours. Now, for some it will be easy to keep your current schedule. For me, I decided that I worked best starting at 9am. And since I work for myself, instead of forcing myself into my home office at 8am, I was able to make that adjustment. But I know what my office hours are, and I respect those hours. I don’t allow myself to “make a quick run to the store” unless it’s during my lunch hour. So, I recommend setting a start time, a lunch time and an end time. And also think through how many breaks you’ll allow yourself to have and how long you’ll have them. This prevents your work life from bleeding into your regular life and vise versa.
2. Create a daily schedule and stick to it – your daily schedule is what you plan to actually accomplish during your set work hours. Creating a schedule helps me know what my tasks and goals are for the day. I like to look at my schedule to see how I’m progressing and if I’m on track. Now personally, I prefer a block schedule. To block schedule, I start by grouping my tasks together into similar blocks. As a blogger, I might have a writing block and an editing block. As a home school student at home, I might have a learning block and then an activity block. You get the picture. I list my tasks for the day, and I list how long they’ll take. Then I put those tasks on my calendar, so I know a particular hour or two is reserved for a specific activity.
3. Get dressed – you don’t need to necessarily get dressed like you’re going into the office, unless that’s your thing. But staying in your pajamas won’t have you working at your peak. I mean, keep your pajamas for the sacredness of sleep, will ya?! I recommend wearing something comfortable that will also have you feeling energized. You don’t necessarily have to dress like you’re going to the office. You don’t even need jeans if that’s not comfortable for you around the house. Personally, I wear yoga pants or my cute comfy joggers. I’m sitting at my desk all day so I want to be comfortable, but I’m not out meeting clients so the business suit would be total over-kill. Because your goal is to still rock it with your job
4. Find new ways to socialize – adjusting to working from home has its challenges, even for someone like me who’s almost 100% introvert. It’s okay to use your break time to check in on friends. When I’m able to get out and about, I have a standing lunch with one of my girlfriends. It’s typically for the same day of the week and the same time. We just change the place we meet up for variety. With both her and I working from home, it gives us to a chance to connect. When we’re not able to meet, I suggest doing what millennials do. Make Facetime your friend.
5. Create a group of like-minded people or coworkers – Or have work meetings over Zoom. If you have a remote team, you’ll find that there’s still value in seeing your co-workers faces instead of just talking to them over the phone. With being an entrepreneur, I find it very helpful connecting with other business owners by scheduling time to meet up. Sometimes we call these “office hours”. In office hours, we meet on Zoom for about an hour. We take the first few minutes to share what we’re going to work on for 30 minutes, then we set a timer and work. When times up, we check in and say how we progressed on the task and then sometimes offer each other support and encouragement. Then we jump into the next 30-minute block of work before we end the call.
6. Move around – sometimes I get so engrossed in my work that I realize I haven’t moved for hours. Not healthy. When you find yourself doing this, make sure you take the time to get up and walk. Even if you’re taking a few laps around your house or go into the kitchen and grab a snack. But don’t have yourself sit in the same room the whole day without moving around.
7. Prioritize your work – this will help you with your schedule. I’ve noticed that even when I set my schedule, that things “just happen”. And there will be times that you don’t get everything done as planned. So, my top tip is for people that have some flexibility to choose when you do each task, is this…. Start your week with the most important task start your day with the most important task. In other words, the first thing you do on Monday morning should be your most important task of the week. The second thing you do on Monday should be your second most important task. And so on. This way, if your week gets crazy, at least you know you got the most important things done.
8. Set clear deliverable dates – getting use to working from home can mean that you can wonder around without taking care of tasks and not necessarily feeling any urgency to what you do day to day. My first tip here is to use a clock or set a timer. You’ll find that you’ll get a lot more accomplished when you give yourself a deadline. Second tip is to give yourself a due date for any projects you’re working on. If you don’t already have a firm date, the way to create one is to think of how long the particular project or task should ideally take. Then give yourself some grace for the unexpected, and then set that deadline. And make yourself stick to it.
9. You need to find a comfortable place – when you start working from home more regularly, you might find that where you thought you’d work isn’t as comfortable as you imaged. Are you used to sitting at the kitchen table and typing on your laptop sometimes after work? How about propping yourself up at the island to knock out a few tasks after dinner? Or sitting on the sofa in front of the TV? Those places can be good for a few minutes or hours of work, but they don’t quite cut it when you need multiple hours over multiple days of working from home. Believe me, I found this out the hard way when my desk chair died on me. I had to update to avoid the sore-butt-syndrome. Sorry for the TMI. Here’s my tip on how to set up the perfect home office.
10. Setting up a specific environment will help you separate work and life – so let me just put it out there that I know everyone doesn’t have the space for a dedicated office at home. Obviously, that’s ideal, but here are some other options. Use a spare bedroom, set up a desk in the living room, setting up a desk in the dining room, or even put a desk in the sitting area of your master bedroom. The only thing I would caution against is putting a desk in your bedroom without some type of separation. Been there, done that. And I found myself being in the same room for about 16 hours a day (yep, that’s 8 hours of work and 8 hours of sleep). Yikes! I realized that I really needed to spread out a bit, so I took the spare bedroom and made that my office. Whatever you choose, make the space doesn’t have a lot of distractions.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be way ahead of your co-workers who blindly stumble along thinking that working from home full time is the same as “typing out a couple of quick emails at the kitchen table”. It’s not. And now you know how to set yourself up the right way